Muncie City Council held a special board meeting March 23, 2020. Due to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's executive order issued in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held over a teleconference platform. Andrew Smith, DN File
Muncie City Council holds virtual special meeting
Muncie City Council’s special meeting Monday started with the invocation of the Pledge of Allegiance, except for one change — it was done over a teleconference meeting.
Following Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order requiring public agencies to participate electronically to reduce the number of people to be physically present, Muncie City Council held its special meeting via a teleconference streamed live on its Facebook page.
One of the reasons the special meeting was called was to discuss the Joint Disaster Emergency Declaration resolution issued March 19 by the City of Muncie and Delaware County, among other emergency items.
“However, more things have transpired since then, and as a result we no longer need to approve this joint resolution,” said Mayor Dan Ridenour at the meeting.
Since that declaration, the Delaware County Board of Commissioners issued another emergency declaration March 20, which was further amended by the governor of Indiana’s stay-at-home order on Monday.
“I think the county is in the process of putting together a resolution that just says they’re going to follow whatever the governor says,” Ridenour said.
Hence the council withdrew the city’s declaration.
The council also approved three ordinances, one of which was for the Muncie Police Department (MPD) to purchase new vehicles because several were not in usable condition, said MPD Chief Nathan Sloan.
“We are hoping to get these done today so that we can make sure than one — we can get these orders done — and two — that we’re in before anybody else gets in because of this coronavirus crisis,” Sloan said.
Before concluding, the council approved two resolutions to allow the Muncie Fire Department (MFD) to purchase another ambulance.
Ridenour explained that since MFD would be taking over emergency services in the city, they needed to purchase the additional ambulance by April 6 when they start service.
“The reason we brought this forward [is] so that we could have the approval of the council to understand that we’re in an unprecedented time where we are having real challenges with companies being open, closed,” he said. “We need to try and move this forward for the protection of the citizens and to be prepared for April 6.”
Should MFD be unable to receive the vehicle in time, Ridenour said the City of New Castle, Indiana, and Heartland Ambulance Services have offered to provide assistance.
In a Facebook post by the City of Muncie a few minutes after the meeting, it stated that the city will be canceling all board and commission meetings through April 6, in accordance with the governor's stay-at-home order.
The only exception will be the City Council which, at this time, may meet remotely.